Yesterday my 22 year old daughter and others were sort of outraged after someone on Twitter, in the excitement of an amazing catch followed by a game tying homer, someone posted only the player’s first name, but without using the é that differentiates it from a slur. Though there was absolutely no context that using the slur wasn’t a non-sequitur, it wasn’t a chat devoted to the game either, and other folks did use the accent mark. So I suppose if you had no context seeing the word could be jarring.
Yeah, I don’t know that the problem is even too PC/too woke with this review, it’s actually just “too stupid” and “poor quality”, “The Week” isn’t exactly a top tier outlet, but this feels below the quality threshold of any form of professional media.
A few years back, when I heard the term SJW used it was generally referring to one of two things: The first was someone who would always bring the conservation back to their pet social issue no matter the topic under discussion. The second was someone who talked tough about social issues online but didn’t really do anything in the real world (slacktivision I guess). And now it’s morphed into being used against anyone who expressed any concern about how people are treated.
I’m trying to recall if there was similar outrage to Kirsten Dunst wearing a cheongsam in Spider Man or Kate Capshaw in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
Although in all fairness in regards to the latter film, Indie did meet Willie Scott in Shanghai and any cultural concerns over her attire were probably overshadowed by the ridiculous Indian banquet scene later on. Still haven’t found “chilled monkey brains” at any of my local Indian take-out places.
But yeah, I do think it’s a bit excessively PC to complain about what ethnicity should play the Fremen, Attraides and Harkonans on some distant planet 10,000 years into the future.
Similarly, I don’t don’t think Christopher Nolen was being particularly insensitive by not focusing on the 300 or so out of 400,000 overwhelmingly white British and French soldiers at Dunkirk.
I recently read about a class was outraged by a professor showing the 1965 version of Othello where Laurence Olivier plays the titular character in black face. I might have gone with the 1995 version with Laurence Fishburne.
This illustrates the problem. When some people take political correctness to ridiculous extremes, it gives ammunition to the right wingers. They use examples of silly (and inconsequential) political correctness like what the OP described as justification for denouncing legitimate issues.
Of course, any understanding of Dune as a “white savior story” kind of obviates the small matter that Paul Atreides is not a “savior”.
So yeah, not really a problem of “too woke/PC” as a problem of “the author’s not getting it”, and then when trying to figure what they’re not getting, a cerain set of blinkers about the things they believe are the relevant things to get. But sometimes, a gom jabbar is just a gom jabbar.
Oh, and if the ultraright is somehow seeing vindication in Dune, well, that shows, Not Getting It Syndrome does not discriminate.
Funny part is the diacrit-marked “é” is NOT in the original language writing of Mr. Hernández’s pet name (real legal name Enrique; in his grandfather’s generation he would have been called Quique but over the late 20th century the Qu’s got turned into K’s in street use), that was something added for the sake of the English-language press because of that issue.
I would have shown a different version too (not least because the Olivier Othello is very dated and not all that good, and there are several more recent ones that both cast black actors and are very good), but IIRC, this guy was a music professor, and was lecturing about some specific aspect of the film’s score.
This is definitely one of those examples that hits a little too close to home for me – I’m really wondering where the line is these days, because I would have thought that Olivier’s Othello would fall clearly on the “there are many legitimate pedagogical reasons for showing this” side of it. Shoot, our one and only image of a Shakespeare performance dating from his lifetime probably features an actor in blackface (though we can’t rule out the possibility that the actor in this performance of Titus Andronicus really was of African origin. But we know Othello was originally played by Richard Burbage, who wasn’t, because we have a contemporary poem that says so). This is an image I’ve shown students many times, because of its obvious historical significance, and I’m not sure how I’d react if a student suddenly argued that making them look at it was an act of violence. (I mean, I guess it’s good that I am thinking about it now, enough to be prepared for the possibility.)
It gets a little more complicated when it comes to cultural appropriation. In the case of the Chinese dress, we have China and we also have Asian Americans. So for critics who think it’s wrong to wear the dress, they’ll argue that what the Chinese think doesn’t matter as much as what Asian Americans think. That was kind of the thinking behind the protests of the Boston Museum’s kimono event back in 2015. Japanese people didn’t have a problem with westerners wearing kimonos but some Asian Americans found the exhibit upsetting. In fact, a lot of Japanese kimono makers at the time would love to have found a new market for their product in America. Business isn’t so good for them these days.
In general, the PC crowd in the states complains but locals don’t mind. Here’s another example:
A restaurant named “Barkada” is opened in D.C; the word means “a group of friends”. Fil-Ams complain, referring to cultural appropriation. Meanwhile, lots of Filipinos don’t mind, and are even delighted that the restaurant was named such.
Meanwhile, it turns out that there’s even cultural appropriation of cultural appropriation:
I found ridiculous the insistence of Fil-Ams that the Barkada bar sport Filipino décor and serve Filipino food. I found it demeaning that some said the Barkada bar should be true to its name by serving beer and pulutan instead of wine and cheese. It would be unthinkable for a Pinoy to expect Aristocrat to upgrade its menu from its signature barbecue chicken and dinuguan to champagne and caviar. Nobody has asked Indonesians if they are offended by Aristocrat’s famous Java rice either. Filipino children will never understand “cultural appropriation” and will continue to choose their party staple of spaghetti with banana ketchup, hotdog slices, and Quickmelt over the original Italian version with a tomato and basil base, sprinkled with authentic parmesan or pecorino.
Sometimes, the effect is fascinating. For example,
Reviewers don’t write movie reviews just for potential viewers who are already fans of the book, though.
Also, the review in question addresses in quite a bit of detail the closeness of the adaptation of the book by the movie. So since the reviewer has provided the information you say you want to know from a movie review, I’m not sure why you’re pouting because the reviewer chose to address some other issues as well.
That seems a rather rigidly prescriptivist approach to the art of film criticism. Why can’t there be different kinds of movie reviews, some of which evaluate only the movie’s faithfulness to its source and other technical issues, while others discuss more general aspects of the work(s)?
I usually err on the side of wokeness but I agree with Little_Nemo that oftentimes there are folks that take it to such extremes that it ends up hurting the stated goals of cultural sensitivity and inclusion. Some of the examples already given, such as events with folks wearing traditional Asian clothes, I had thought fit in that category. I will say I hadn’t thought of it in terms of Asian-Americans, who would naturally have a different perspective on the use of their cultural traditions. Folks with Asian heritage growing up in America already feel othered thanks to the distance between themselves and the culture to which they feel they belong. The fact they might be offended by seeing their traditions used by members of other cultures, even if that use is respectful and inoffensive to Asians who grew up secure in that culture, does make sense from that perspective.
That said, I’m not sure if they have the right to dictate control over Asian culture, since they are already of a new culture per se. They are not longer Asians, but Asian-Americans, with a unique culture born of exchange. Every culture that exists today is built on the exchange and traditions of cultures before them, and I think that is a fact worth celebrating, not inhibiting by insisting every cultural practice should remain separate but equal.
I wrote the Dune series because I had this idea that charismatic leaders ought to come with a warning label on their forehead: “May be dangerous to your health.” One of the most dangerous presidents we had in this century was John Kennedy because people said “Yes Sir Mr. Charismatic Leader what do we do next?” and we wound up in Vietnam. And I think probably the most valuable president of this century was Richard Nixon. Because he taught us to distrust government and he did it by example.
One might agree with that or not, and also with whether it’s entirely successful, but it’s very much a conscious attempt at showcasing the dangers of how a ‘born leader’ mythology can be used to manipulate and seduce people into obedience. The colonialist tropes are used very deliberately (although I haven’t seen the new film yet and can’t comment on how well it hews to this), and sort of subvert their uncritical use in much of the science fiction of the times (Wisecrack makes the point well).